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Jess Thirlby coach of Vitality Roses speaks to Laura Malcolm and Natalie Panagarry after the Vitality Netball Nations Cup 2020 match between Vitality Roses and New Zealand Silver Ferns

England Netball has confirmed that the Vitality Roses will face an international Vitality Netball Superleague All Stars team in a three-match series next week.

The inaugural Vitality Netball Legends Series was set to feature Jamaica before travel restrictions resulting from the ongoing pandemic meant the Sunshine Girls could not feasibly travel to the UK.

Fortunately, a new opponent was able to be assembled and this series will be played behind closed doors with strict COVID testing and protocols in place as per Government guidance relating to elite sport, with player and staff safety paramount.

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The Roses’ squad is identical to the one selected by Head Coach Jess Thirlby to face Jamaica but here is a reminder of the 14 athletes competing for the Jean Hornsby Cup on 20, 22 and 24 January.

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Eleanor Cardwell

She starred in Manchester Thunder’s Vitality Netball Superleague title win in 2019 and played in all three games in the Cadbury Netball Series against New Zealand. 

Age: 26

Position(s): Goal Shooter, Goal Attack

Club: Manchester Thunder

Height: 188cm

Caps: 30

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George Fisher

Her international performances and form in the Vitality Netball Superleague in recent seasons have earned George an exciting move to Southern Steel in New Zealand’s ANZ Premiership.

Age: 22

Position(s): Goal Shooter, Goal Attack

Club: Southern Steel

Height: 189cm

Caps: 15

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Sophie Drakeford-Lewis

She was named Vitality Netball Superleague Young Player of the Season in 2019 and earned a place on the Roses full-time programme for the first time that same year.

Age: 22

Position(s): Goal Attack, Wing Attack

Club: Team Bath

Height: 179cm

Caps: 5

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Helen Housby

Returning to the squad for the first time since the Vitality Netball World Cup in 2019, Helen lifted the Suncorp Super Netball title that same year to add to her impressive trophy collection that includes a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Age: 26

Position(s): Goal Attack, Goal Shooter

Club: New South Wales Swifts

Height: 184cm

Caps: 66

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Laura Malcolm

A key member of Jess Thirlby’s leadership team, Laura was vice-captain during the 2019 series in South Africa and the Vitality Netball Nations Cup last year before graduating to co-captain in the Cadbury Netball Series in New Zealand.

Age: 29

Position(s): Wing Defence, Wing Attack, Centre

Club: Manchester Thunder

Height: 175cm

Caps: 31

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Serena Guthrie

She was captain for the hosts at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 and the England Netball legend secured her 100th cap last November in New Zealand.

Age: 31

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence

Club: Team Bath

Height: 177cm

Caps: 100

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Natalie Haythornthwaite

She was a key player at the Vitality Netball World Cup in 2019, winning the Suncorp Super Netball league shortly after and she then claimed her 50th international cap in a player-of-the-match display against South Africa in January 2020.

Age: 28

Position(s): Wing Attack, Goal Attack

Club: New South Wales Swifts

Height: 174cm

Caps: 50

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Beth Cobden

She started all seven matches en route to claiming a historic gold medal at the Commonwealth Games in 2018 and is back in the squad after a challenging couple of years with injury.

 Age: 27

Position(s): Wing Defence, Centre

Club: Loughborough Lightning

Height: 177cm

Caps: 26

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Jade Clarke

The Vitality Roses’ most-capped player in history is still going strong, playing in all three international series since the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 and she was the first signing made by Leeds Rhinos, the newest addition to the Vitality Netball Superleague.

Age: 37

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence

Club: Leeds Rhinos

Height: 174cm

Caps: 179

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Imogen Allison

She was a part of the Vitality Netball Superleague’s best defence in 2017 and 2018 learning from Vitality Roses Eboni Usoro-Brown and Layla Guscoth, and Imogen made her debut in the Cadbury Netball Series in New Zealand.

Age: 22

Position(s): Centre, Wing Defence

Club: Team Bath

Height: 180cm

Caps: 2

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Fran Williams

She was the youngest player at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019 and has been named in all four squads since then, including vice-captaining the side in New Zealand for the Cadbury Netball Series.

Age: 23

Position(s): Goal Defence, Goal Keeper, Wing Defence

Club: Wasps Netball

Height: 185cm

Caps: 16

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Razia Quashie

Saracens Mavericks’ Players’ Player of the Season made her England debut in 2018 on tour in Jamaica and she was actually born on another Caribbean island, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. 

Age: 23

Position(s): Goal Keeper, Goal Defence

Club: Saracens Mavericks

Height: 185cm

Caps: 15

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Vicki Oyesola

The 2017 Vitality Netball Superleague Young Player of the Season swapped Loughborough Lightning for new franchise Leeds Rhinos for the 2021 campaign and she featured twice during the Cadbury Netball Series in New Zealand.

Age: 23

Position(s): Goal Defence, Wing Defence

Club: Leeds Rhinos

Height: 180cm

Caps: 6

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Layla Guscoth

She has returned to Team Bath following a two-year spell with Adelaide Thunderbirds and this is her first call-up to the Vitality Roses squad since sustaining an Achilles injury in the second match at the Vitality Netball World Cup 2019.

Age: 28

Position(s): Goal Defence, Goal Keeper, Wing Defence

Club: Team Bath

Height: 183cm

Caps: 26

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Average Age: 26

Average Caps: 51

Previous Result: New Zealand Silver Ferns 62-47 Vitality Roses

Watch the Vitality Netball Legends Series live on Sky Sports Mix, Arena and YouTube. 

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